For a long time I found myself preparing sermon outlines on my iPad and then having to convert my notes into the traditional printed paper format.
One day I decided enough was enough and decided to take the leap of preaching with my iPad.
Although a little scary at first, I can tell you I’ve never looked back and I’ve been preaching with my iPad ever since.
Inspired by my Preaching Rocket training, I learned the best way to plan and prepare my sermons on my iPad but I couldn’t find a clear guide anywhere on how to actually use an iPad whilst preaching – so here we are.
You’ll probably find your own way of doing this, but for me the best and easiest way seems to be to use only two apps: Pages with GoodReader (or Word and GoodReader if you use a PC).
These tips help you whether you’re preaching with an iPad or a Mini.
So, without further ado, here are my ten top tips on how to preach with an iPad:
1. Be Confident
“If you are going to preach from an iPad, you have got to do it boldly.” [Tweet this]
As I said earlier, preaching with an iPad was a little scary for me at first, but you know sometimes you’ve just got to take a leap of faith and stick it out. make the commitment you’re going to see it through and do it confidently, not nervously or thinking that something will go wrong.
Do whatever you have to do to be at ease with your iPad during your sermon; practice a few times before your first sermon with it. If it helps, you could always take your printed notes as a back-up if it helps.
It always makes me laugh that if I lose a page or get them mixed up – it’s my fault.
But if something goes wrong with the iPad then it’s the iPad’s fault. I think it’s got something to with our mistrust of electronics.
The truth is, both have pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses.
With the iPad though, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
2. Find a Good Case
While it’s great to preach with an iPad, it could become a distraction for your listeners if all your congregation thinks is “He’s preaching with an iPad!”
This concern is quickly subsiding as iPads become more and more common, but I still think it’s a good idea to use a case that looks like a notebook.
This is not to hide the fact that you are preaching with an iPad, as much as it is to keep the fact from becoming a distraction.
The cases from DODO are excellent, although there are also plenty of more affordable options.
3. Prepare Your Sermon Notes
I’ve found the Pages and GoodReader apps work best for me.
Pages is great for preparing your sermon notes and outlines.
You can type it out on your computer at home and have it automatically sync to your iPad.
When you’ve finished your sermon prep, up the font size to 18. It might look crazy big, but it’s easier to read at a glance.
The latest Pages updates gives you the option to add page numbers, super-handing in helping you keep your place.
Once your sermon is ready to go in pages, you’ll need to get your file to GoodReader.
This is pretty simple, click on the square icon (the one with the arrow point up) in the to right. Select the “Open in Another App,” option, choose “PDF,” “Choose App” then “Open in GoodReader.” A couple of seconds later you’ll be ready to go.
Most preachers I know prefer to preach using GoodReader instead of Pages because it allows you to tap or swipe from one page to the next; with Pages you have to scroll between pages meaning you could easily lose your place mid-sermon.
If you’re using a PC for your sermon preparation, use a program like Word then save your sermon notes as a PDF file, email it to yourself, open it on your iPad and you’re good to go with GoodReader.
4. Charge Your iPad Before Preaching
Unlike paper, your iPad takes batteries!
The last thing you want to be worrying when you’re delivering a sermon is if your iPad’s going to shut down on you at any second.
A 40 minute sermon would only use about 10% battery life (and this is an older one), but just to be sure and give myself peace of mind, I always make sure my iPad is fully charged before heading up to the pulpit.
5. Invert Your Screen Colours
Every preacher I know inverts their iPad screen colours before preaching.
The reason for this is you don’t want the glowing white screen to illuminate your face, reflect off of your glasses or cause any other distraction during the sermon.
The easy way to stop this from happening is to use the ‘invert screen colours’ function which effectively reverses the colours on your screen from black to white and from white to black.
To use this, go to Settings, tap “General,” then “Accessibility,” and switch on “Invert Colours.”
Even better, go to Settings, tap “General,” then “Accessibility” and “Accessibility Shortcut.”
There you will see the option to set a triple-click of the home button to invert the colours.
Now, right before presenting your sermon, just triple tap the home button and you’ll have an inverted screen.
6. Switch Notifications Off
I’m sure your sermon note printouts never beeped or buzzed during your preaching, but when it comes to preaching with your iPad, you’ll need to remember to switch off your notifications beforehand to avoid any unnecessary distractions.
Probably the easiest way (there might be a better way but this is how I do it), is to set your iPad to airplane mode which takes you offline and stops any email or social media notifications from popping up.
One step further would be to select the iPad sleep mode to block any offline messages coming through.
The last thing you’ll want to see when your standing in front of your church congregation is a shopping list reminder or some other calendar event from popping up.
7. Lock The Orientation
Depending on the angle of your pulpit, without locking your orientation your iPad could keep switching from portrait to landscape and back again – trust me, this could prove to be a major irritation.
By simply using the switch on the side you can lock your screen orientation before preaching.
8. Turn Off Auto-Lock
Always turn off auto-lock before you preach.
Auto-lock will count the number of seconds since you last tapped the screen. When the time runs out it’ll turn off your screen, forcing you to re-enter your password again before coming back to life.
Though this is a great security feature, you could easily lose your flow if you keep having to re-enter your password to get to your next page of notes.
Steps 5 to 8 might look like a lot but altogether won’t take you longer than a few seconds before you’re about to preach.
9. Add Last-Minute Notes
10. Read From Your Bible
Although you download Bible apps like YouVersion onto your iPad, I always find it better to read from an actual Bible when I’m preaching.
Maybe I’m aa traditionalist at heart but part of me still thinks you can’t beat actually opening up the Bible pages and reading from the scriptures together.
When you’re reading from a Bible everyone knows it. With a Bible app on your iPad it’s not so obvious.
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9 thoughts on “10 Top Tips On How To Preach With An iPad – The Smart Guide”
I don’t preach but I can do that to my friends, because I really like to give them lectures, but they don’t, I don’t know why, but I don’t ask them. But I really like the ideas you are giving here. Great article man.
Very awesome guide here on how to preach with an ipad.
I agree with you the first thing we need is to be confident. Lacking of this can be a serious issue. Just GO for it and don’t expect to be perfect. Your 10 Tips are excellent and surely help your readers a lot.
Thanks for sharing!
Hi Simon – some great tips here that can be used by anyone who has to stand up and deliver a presentation, whether in the pulpit or the office.
So the Good Reader app works only on PDF if I am correct. It is good to know the whole thing you gave here since it gives me an idea to make address and presentation with ease. When I am on the podium no one know what I will see from the ipad so I must practice a little bit to make sure there is no pit elsewhere. Nice website.
Yes at the moment Good Reader only supports PDF though they might be changing this in the future.
Practice makes perfect Tinnakon, you’re right, like with all things, just takes a little getting used to. Hopefully like me, once you’ve made the transition to preaching with your iPad, you’ll never look back.
Hi Simon, these tips could be used by a lot of people not just preachers, but it’s a fantastic list you’ve put forward here.
What a great in detailed article on how to preach with an iPad. I love my iPad and here you give another great use for it. I don`t preach (other than to my children:) but I can see how very useful this can be.
10 great suggestions, I`m sure these tips will come in very handy for somebody bringing the iPad to church.
I like the suggestion of turning the notifications off, you don`t want “hay day” sounds going off in the middle of your service.
Again very helpful, thanks,
I’m no preacher, but I could preach about these vital tips! I use my ipad whenever and wherever it can save paper and my time. Thanks for the great post!
Me too: wherever I go, the iPad goes! Thanks Anny